Sunday, April 09, 2006

Fighting Our True Nature

Unlike choosing joy, this is not something that I recommend. In fact, I sometimes wonder if it is the root of all evil (no offense intended toward money of course, just saying). This is the one thing that gets in my way more than any other thing. It gets in the way of my happiness, it gets in the way of my productivity, it gets in the way of my relationships, it gets in the way of my life’s work. It should be banned. And yet, it continues. And an external ban or trade tariff or the like would do no good, because this is an internal battle (aren’t all the good ones?). Yes, it’s true, choosing to be our clear, authentic, fully expressed self, that is an inside job. And we do need structures to keep us on track, and we do need friends and allies that can remind us and help us see when we stray or how we stray. But, in the final equation, it is up to us and us alone to fight the temptation to be as we think we ought to be (in my case, nice, proper, well-behaved, and a few other disappointingly bland characteristics), or to be as we think others think we ought to be or tell us to be, or to be how we think that job needs us to be, and so on, and so on, and unfortunately, one more “so on” (doesn’t it feel never ending to you, it sure does to me).

So there it is, the thing to avoid, the problem at hand, now how do we find and honour and keep choosing our true natures? There is no one test that can tell us all of what it is. There isn’t one magic workshop we can enroll in that will reveal all. There isn’t a psychic or astrologer or priest that can divine the pearls of wisdom that will change our lives forever. So what’s a human to do?

Here is what I have discovered so far (and know that I have devoted most of my adult life to this cause, as I feel, at a very deep level that this is at least half of why we are here, to know ourselves, to know our true natures, to stay true to that. And then, life throws tests in along the way to help us deepen and sharpen that knowing. I am not sure where or who this quote is from, but it captures a piece of what I am saying here: God created man so that God could know God) about FINDING our true natures:

1) It is an ongoing process. We discover something about ourselves and we need to test if it is true, we need to try it on and make sure it resonates for us. That takes time. And some of it will stick and some of it will not. Then comes a challenge to “take what we like and leave the rest”. Say we take a workshop, or come in to a new teaching, and the guru gives a cookie cutter solution, perhaps he says “men are from mars and women are from venus”. It makes sense, in the context (especially the context of you having just spent $500 for the workshop, if you don’t think what he has to say it useful, it is egg on your face not his). And you like the sound of it, and what is might do for your life. But you need to go try on the Techicolour Dreamcoat for a while before you decide to buy or in other words whether this is who you are. And some of it might not ring true, partly because if it was a cookie cutter solution or idea, well it can’t be 100% true for all 100 people in the room, right? But there might be pressure for the new peer group (you know, the fellow workshop junkies) to buy in, to believe it, to start living it like it is the real you. This brings us face to face with the “what others think we ought to be, or tell us to be” problem. So with this pressure and influence it might take us a while to see if it really, truly is a match for us. And so that dance continues, ongoingly, always refining as new information comes our way.

2) Who we are changes over time. Or does it? When I was 19, and I choose to take a Commerce degree, no one batted an eyelash. It seemed totally in line with the little girl who had counted her dad’s change, and stacked it in neat little piles, just for fun. Then when I graduated and moved out west I swung hard, very hard to the flaky side (I don’t think that left and right even captures that scale I was playing on, although for the record, on the usual scale I have always been left, even as I got my Commerce degree). In the end (well, then again, it is not the end yet, let’s wait and see where things go from here), I am somewhere in the middle, although my recent return to interests of business suggest that perhaps I am heading back to something (maybe that is why I don’t want to believe that money is the root of all evil). Which one is the real me? At any one stage in my life I would have asserted that wherever I am now, that is IT, the real me. It is who I am, absolutely, unequivocally. And then promptly changed course. Maybe the truth in not in the external manifestation, but rather the core or essence of my personality. When I was in the height of my flaky phase, I remember being back east visiting my parents, and I was presenting to my father some of what I had been learning of myself in my explorations on the coast. And I said to him “I am airy fairy. And I am touchy feely.” To which he said, with a little mischief in his eye (good to know I got it from somewhere), “No dear, you are witchy bitchy.” I burst into laughter (much to my father’s relief I am sure, as it must have been a bit risky to say such a thing to someone who is in denial of her witchy bitchy-ness, and therefore a bit of a powder keg), what a great joy it is to be really known and really seen. In my essence. Because it is my powerful, direct, hell raising self that has been a part of the entire journey I have been on regardless of the details and the changes.

3) In certain circumstances it serves us to be “someone else”. But make sure you don’t mistake that for yourself. Your True Self. For all that I took that business degree, and for all that I wore the burgundy Commerce jacket around campus for 3 ½ years, something was amiss. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I didn’t quite fit in. I can see now that it is because I am a hybrid (always have been, foot in many camps, wait, how many feet do I have again?). But to get through it all, to get that degree over 4 grueling years (and yes, I took drama classes whenever I could to break the monotony) I had to step into the persona of the Commerce student. To survive. To get by. To get through. But I never lost myself there (mostly because I surrounded myself with the right friends that kept reminding me who I REALLY am). I never started believing that I was that person. I knew it was a suit that I was wearing. And that one day I would take it off. More and more though, maybe as I am getting older and wiser, and seeing myself more accurately, I do that less and less. Now I always bring all of me into a job interview (let’s face it, if they hired the Proper Signy, they would then expect me to be the Proper Signy for 8 hours a day, yikes!). And I am still working on bringing all of me out on first dates (my deep seated fear being that I blow these poor men out of the water, so instead I use that liquid to water myself down).

So it seems the journey never ends. But I suspect it is related to those ladies who say, “When I am old, I shall wear purple”. They know who they are, and they won’t compromise it for anyone!!!


At 11:13 AM PDT, Blogger Alda said...

I, too, occasionally put on a power suit and enter the World of Business for a day and before every single time it feels like hell and I vow I won't do it any more! It feels like I have to annihilate myself. But then I discover that I can actually bring a bit of myself to the role and then it feels a bit better.

Thanks for a thought-provoking post. And when I'm old, I'm definitely going to wear purple - and it won't be a power suit. :)

At 11:28 AM PDT, Blogger Signy said...

But I could see you in a purple power suit. Then again, I could see you in purple anything, and you would look great!!!

At 8:14 PM PDT, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I have always thought that I am the sum of many selves evolved throughout my life...the totality of me is a those flower petals. This does not mean I am multiple personalities dissociated from reality..this IS my reality. I can be different in each situation or with each new person. I am always in evolution! This is a good thing! It is adaptive. It's called, being DYNAMIC. It is crucial to our survival and it's what makes us flourish. It tingles with my sense of self, and thus is my truth!

At 10:42 PM PDT, Blogger Signy said...

"Both and" is my experience of it. Both an evolution, and sometimes I am bailing on myself. Part of the journey is figuring out which is which. And trying to be gentle with myself after having abadonded myself and my truth, again.

At 6:08 AM PDT, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Yes, Signy, but the good thing about all this is that it is self-governed, and therein lies the empowerment..YOU can always give yourself a 2nd chance, a chance to refine and reshape your responses to become closer and truer to The Real Self. You can reward yourself too! Gentle are the Blessings sometimes. There is a poem that appears on the front page of a writer friend's website..he believes this so strongly...your right to Speak Your Truth and allowing others to speak theirs...He is into the SELF, healing the mind, spirit and body and has a book called, "Voices From The Village; A Journey Through Pain". Very interesting guy to check out..has published several books.. check him out at

At 6:19 AM PDT, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Here is that poem...

Respect your truth
Speak your truth
Live your truth
Trust what makes you feel strong
Be good to and for you


Respect my truth
Let me speak my truth.
Let me live my truth
Trust me in knowing what makes me feel strong
Let me be good to and for me.

Frank Westcott Copyright 2005

Thanks, Frank!


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